Although Cuba in not exactly the destination for gourmet enthusiasts, who are impressed by the exceptionally high class culinary and Michelin stars. However, chefs on Cuba, despite the country’s closure, provide the most interesting dishes from the accessible ingredients and with a touch of innovation. Combinations of foods may not really be what we are used to, but believe us; you will lick your fingers after each meal.
Well, if we exclude resorts in Varadero, then you can forget the dishes from other parts of the world while you traveling around the Cuba. So do not waste your precious time looking for Asian specialties, modern French cuisine or fine Italian pasta. Otherwise, if we are sincere… why would you eat frogs’ legs, pasta with truffles when you can enjoy the freshly caught seafood, lobsters, beef, that literally melt in your mouth and sweet fruits with coconut, papaya and pineapple at the forefront? The offer is endless, so get out of your comfort zone and try all of those real traditional Cuban specialties. You will not be sorry!
Now, let us get started! Right at the begging, at the most important meal of the day, breakfast. Eating home-made breakfast will be the best everyday investment of 5 euros, you ever made. Omelet with pepper and onions, possible with cheese and ham? Or simply friend eggs? However, for breakfast, which you will receive in casas, eggs always have the main role! Of course, they do not forget on big mug of coffee, freshly baked bread, pressed fruit juice and a full plate of Cuban fruits.
Take advantage of street food to satisfy your hunger when you are walking around the town. Small pizzas, big as the palm, with some cheese and tomato sauce, if you are lucky, even a few pieces of ham fall on these things 🙂 these goodies are baked mostly in small kiosks, but the most authentic ones are those that come from old casks, yeah you read that right, locals turn old used gas casks into pizza ovens. We suggest you to look other way when they prepare and bake those things, but believe us; it is certainly worth the risk, because the taste is unbelievable. In addition to those unique pizzas, you can also choose between many of sandwiches filled with ham, cheese and various vegetables.
When you will be wandering the coastal parts of the island, you will be able to taste delicious sea delicacies, among which the lobster definitely stands out. This gourmet specialty is in Europe accessible to only a handful of people, but here in Cuba, you will pay as only as 10 euros for portion!
Among many Cuban dishes, we often choose congri and ropa vieja. You have no idea what we are talking about? Congri is rice cooked with black beans, garlic and spices – ropa vieja is slow cooked beef with tomatoes and onion. This is a divine combination of two Cuban specialties! Pork lovers will also enjoy in Cuban cuisine, because steaks are served in every restaurant. Many also serve ribs and even freshly baked suckling pig, straight from the grill.
We have to compensate all those calories which we lose traveling kilometers in each town. So we did not forget about confectionery First advice… forget about cakes! In most confectioners, they look like they were decorated by 5 year old kids and consequently the taste is not much better. No worries, there are some other sweet things you can get on the island.
First of them is flan – definitely one of the top choices. Panna-cota look alike dessert poured with caramel. Then do not forget the famous fat-full churros, continuous tape of dough fried in oil, poured with sugar and filled with chocolate or some other stuffing.
In any case, during the unbearably hot days, nothing is more suitable than a great ice cream! Of course, there are not hundreds types of ice lollies or ice-cream pots in stock as we are used to, but honestly, do you really need that? In Cuba, you can choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavor ice cream and all of them comes from the same manufacturer. Our advice… always choose the chocolate one! You can also try your luck in confectionery, but forget Coopelia (we really did not like it). If you need one insider information, then visit Helad’oro in Havana. Their ice cream can easy compete with the finest Italian gelatos.
You will definitely be thirsty after trying all of above listed dished, right? If you prefer to drink non-alcoholic drinks then you can choose among various soft drinks (forget about Coca-Cola and Fanta, if you are lucky you will only get Pepsi) or freshly squeezed fruit juices. However, for alcohol lovers Cuba is a paradise! There are couple of different beers, but forget those! Go for cocktails instead; Mojito, Cuba Libre and Daiquiri are just couple of all those famous mixtures you can get on the island. Yeah, where did you think those cocktails get their names? 😛
We definitely made you hungry with this post and now you are already halfway to the refrigerator, so we can only wish you a bon appetite.
S & B